Hi! My name is Katie and I am from Virginia. I was an almost success story until the day I found out I was "with child." Since then, I have become a single parent to an amazing and beautiful daughter- so this is my life, 2.0. Thanks for reading, I hope you start and end your day with a smile!
This week on Show Us How You Live we're sharing our best fashion tips. I'm not so sure if mine are more rules than tips, but I think that's okay. Back in the day, way in the day, my friends used to come over to house and shop in my closet. My mom loves to shop and since she was the one buying my clothes, she usually bought what she liked for me. This left me with a gigantic wardrobe, half of which I never, or rarely, wore more than once. As I got older I tried to convey to her what my style was- sometimes this worked and sometimes I'd find a new a new kimono-esque dress hanging in my closet when I got home from school. Of course most of my friends were jealous of me having a mom who loved to shop for me and I was grateful for all I'd been given- but (isn't there always a but) I didn't always act that way. Basically what sums that all up is I just wanted her to "get" me and she wanted me to be happy with what she gave to me. So all that unnecessary teen angst for those years, and me having tons of clothing options to pick from, gave me the opportunity to hone my Say Yes to the Dress and What Not to Wear abilities. So here are a some of my tips/rules for fashion.
** Don't buy trendy outfits. Go with something classic that will still be in style a few years down the road and pair it with some trendy accessories. I know that "trendy" items are generally cheaper, but they'll either be out of date in three months or they'll have come apart by then. Invest in some pieces that will last you a long time and will never go out of style. (Click on the pics to take you to their site).
** Try and make sure that every outfit has a little bit of flair, something that makes it your own. It can be something like a bold scarf, flowered hair clips, fun earrings, or a cool purse. No matter how boring your outfit is, it can be spiced right on up with just one piece of flair. (And you can get that kinda stuff pretty cheap, well, except maybe for the purse.) Since I wear a lot of black, I usually try and wear a colorful pair of earrings with a matching hair accessory. (Click on pictures to take you to their site)
** If you wear leggings, make sure you're wearing them with something that covers your lady parts.
** Don't get sucked into trends when the classic version is available. Right now blue, purple and pink Uggs are all the rage. I know they're really cute, but chances are they're just a passing trend and really, how many outfits go with pink or blue boots? If Uggs are your thing, buy a pair that's brown, gray or black- they'll still be in style next year and you'll be able to wear them with more outfits. If buying the standard colors seem boring to you, than get a modified style like the the sweater button boot.
** Don't wear horizontal stripes unless you're a size 6 or under. It doesn't matter how skinny you are, horizontal stripes will always make you look bigger than you are. If you like stripes and you just can't part with them, then make sure the stripe is very thin- the thicker the stripe the thicker you look.
** If you're a mother with babies or small children, the best things to wear are either solid dark colored shirts/dresses or ones that have a dark or bold print on them. Tops that are light and solid colored show EVERYTHING. And since we all know that the little ones know how to mess up our clean clothes the second we put them on, the best thing is to wear something that camouflages the dirt! If you don't like to wear dark colors, a light color for the background of the shirt/dress will work as long as it has a dark and large print on it.
(All of these shirts can be found at Shade Clothing, or just click on the pictures to take you to them)
** Don't be match matchy with the store's mannequin. Buy pieces of the outfit and partner it with something else.
** For those days when you're bloated or feeling a little bit heavier than usual, it's best to wear a skirt. They are way more forgiving than pants and you won't feel frumpy.
** No matter what, make sure that you're comfortable with what you're wearing. It doesn't matter how great you actually look- if you don't like it and you don't feel good wearing those clothes, don't! When you like what you're wearing, you'll wear it better.
And those are my main tips and rules regarding fashion advice. I hope I get to learn some new things from the rest of ya'll. If you want to see my favorite places to shop, click HERE.
That's what Spencer said to me tonight! I about died.
I can't even count how many times I've said "I said NO!" And now she's saying it to me. I feel so many different things about this, but mostly just guilt. I'm always telling her "no" much more than I tell her "yes." Something I'm doing needs to change, but the what and how of it all leaves me full of questions. Any advice?
By 11:30am this morning I felt like I'd just ran a marathon. We got up and went to the grocery store, the drug store, McDonalds and the gas station. Then there was the making (more like assembling) of two separate dishes from my grocery store purchases, getting showered, appropriately dressed and made up, then doing the same for Spence, loading up all the food into the car, driving twenty miles to drop off Spencer and then back in the opposite direction towards my final destination. All of that by 11:30am. I was so focused on getting everything done in time that I never even stopped, never even paused, to think about why I was actually doing all of this.
I walked into the building and found a place to sit- which was difficult because it was jam packed full with people. I couldn't even find my mom, so I just sat down in one of the arm chairs they put out since all of the regular seating was full. As I sat there catching my breath the cloying scent of too many flowers in a confined space wafted over, tickling my nose and snapping me back to reality. I was at a funeral. The second time in two weeks that death had visited someone in my life.
The man who passed away is (was) my best friend's father-in-law. But he was more than that- he was a family friend and The Best Man to my Maid of Honor. One week before Sara's wedding, her soon to be father-in-law received the news that would forever change their lives. He was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurodegenerative disease. It was similar to ALS in that it would rob him of his ability to move and speak, all while his mind worked just fine. But ALS has a life expectancy of 1-2 years after diagnosis, while his was 4-7 years. That might sound like the better of the two deals, but trust me, it's not. All it meant was that he was trapped in his body longer.
A few days before the wedding they gave me the news. It wasn't something they were ready to share with anyone yet, but I needed to know. I was the maid of honor and he was the best man- he would climb the steps to the alter and then escort me down them and out of the very large church. He was worried that he might trip, stumble, or fall in front of everyone- he didn't want to embarrass his son or do anything that might take the focus off of the bride and groom. To the untrained eye it might have looked like he was escorting me, but I was there for him. As we linked arms on the alter stairs I could see the nervousness in his eyes, I gave him a little nod and squeezed his arm- I wanted him to know that I wouldn't let anything happen. And it didn't.
He was a good, kind man. At the viewing last night, the line to greet his wife was over an hour wait; over 500 people came to pay their respects and it took over five hours. The service today was beautiful, filled with pictures, loving anecdotes and eulogies. As I sat there in that arm chair all by myself, tears filled my eyes. I had been going, going, going and now that I had stopped, the sadness of it all just become so real to me. The unfairness. He was a very active man- played tennis, ran every day, an avid skier, world traveler, dancer, and a successful owner of his own business. He was a man's man, a gregarious Southern Gentleman, a devoted father to his son. It's a terrible disease for anyone to have, but it was particularly cruel for a someone like him. Everything he was, everything he loved to do, it was all steadily taken away from him, with no hope that it would ever get any better.
Sara's son was born a few months ago and I had the privilege of taking some family photographs of them. Sara's little boy was named after his grandpa, but it was going to be a surprise. In the hospital room I stood to the side as a son introduced his newborn son to his father. I watched as he told him what his grandson's name was. I took picture after picture, the flood of tears spilling out of my eyes made it a little difficult for me to see. It was a beautiful moment. And even though he couldn't move, couldn't speak- the love and pride he felt shone in his eyes. This is the picture I took the moment he found out the name of his first grandson.
They truly were the only windows into his soul, and they spoke volumes.
After the funeral was over I was in charge of collecting all the food and driving it over to the post-graveside lunch reception. I started feeling the urge to Go, Go, Go and accomplish my task. But then I said to myself, Stop. Life is so short and so much of it is spent just running through the motions and getting to the next thing all on autopilot. It's hard for me to press pause and savor the moment, but it's something I'm going to try to do from now on. I don't want to miss the important moments or breeze right through them without realizing that I am. Sometimes you just need to Stop.
I've always wanted to do one of these photo challenges, but it seemed like I was always forgetting, or when I would remember it was too late to submit a picture. Well, I finally got to it, my first I Heart Faces photo challenge, and it was on textures. I've never done anything with textures before, so this actually was a real challenge! I still don't have the best grasp on the whole concept, but hopefully I'll get better at it the more I practice and experiment. So here's my little Spencer with Texture!
This is what our weather forecast looks like in Richmond for the next seven days.
Do you see it? It's 64 degrees today here in Richmond- practically balmy. And on Friday it's supposed to snow! The high is 38- how does that happen? Do you see that low? Twenty degrees, and that's in Fahrenheit folks! Last night we had the weirdest weather, with incredible gusts of wind with hail and rain, and temperatures in 50-60's. Today is bright and sunny and then all of a sudden a large cloud will pass and it will rain for like one to two minutes.
I rarely get sick from catching something from someone else. In fact, it's only happened once in three years (the awful H1N1) and twice in eight years. But the two things that always get to my immune system are severe changes in weather and stress. Without fail, every time there is a drastic change in the temperature, my body lets me know that she's not pleased. So lets hope that doesn't happen this week! The only thing worse than being sick, is being sick when you have a small child.
Back to the weather. We usually have cold winters in January- nothing like it used to be in Minnesota, but still very cold. This has been the craziest month for us here. Just two weeks ago we were having highs in the low 20's and lows in teens to single digits. That just doesn't happen in central Virginia. And then today we're in the springtime, tomorrow it's back to the winter, and Friday there's getting a snow storm. It's like we're in the movie The Day After Tomorrow.
Hello readers! I just wanted to give ya'll a heads up about a couple of things that I've found out.
First, one of the online shops that I recommended to you guys last week, Tutti Bella, wrote me to let my readers know that they are currently having a killer 10-20-30 sale. Hundreds of items are marked down to $10, $20, and $30 and the sale ends 1/25/10.
Second, Care.com let me know that they are giving away a pretty great trip for two to Los Angeles! Here's what they wrote to me:
One lucky Grand Prize winner will receive a trip for two to Los Angeles, including round-trip airfare, a two-night hotel stay at the luxury SLS Hotel (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury/index.html in Beverly Hills) with dinner for two at SLS’s Bazaar restaurant and a private VIP tour of the Warner Bros. Studio lot, where “Valentine’s Day” was filmed. Twelve finalists will each receive two tickets to see the film. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Care.com will also provide the winners with a free one-month premium membership to find that perfect babysitter.
HOW TO ENTER: Enter at: www.facebook.com/caredotcom, and tell us your most romantic or funniest Valentine’s Day memory. All entries should be rated PG. The twelve finalists will be selected during the months of January and February 2010. One Grand Prize Winner will be selected from among the 12 finalists in February. Three Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges on or around each of the following dates: January 23, 2010, January 30, 2010, February 6, 2010, and February 13, 2010. One Grand Prize Winner will be selected from among the 12 Finalists on or around February 13, 2010.
So I just thought ya'll might be interested in these two things. And to be sure, neither of these two companies have paid me to write about them or have given me anything in exchange for writing about them. I hope everyone is having a great weekend!
I don't like it. Sweet talk annoys me to no end, mostly because of it's fake fakiness. Which, unfortunately, I've had an unfortunate history of falling for many times before. I've never been very good at doing myself, and I've certainly never called anyone I don't know "Honey" or "Sweetie." In fact, when someone who doesn't know me calls me one of those names, my internal bull honkey antennae goes up.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered my two year old daughter has become the master of deceptive sweet talk. It snuck up on me, and for awhile I was in denial; I tried to trick myself into believing that all of her "I love yous," "Don't crwys," and unsolicited kisses were just obvious signs of her love and appreciation. But I've had to face the facts.
My very intuitive daughter tells me she loves me right before she's about to do something naughty. If I get angry with her, she comes and gives me a kiss, says "Your wekome. All better?" She looks at me with such earnest eyes as she strokes my face, nods her head and she's all "It's k! k? ok." Like she's telling me to back off, what she want's to do is perfectly acceptable, and I just need to chill out and let her do her thing.
In the beginning it was kinda cute, and I probably perpetuated it by being smitten with her ingenious way of manipulating me. But now, I'm over it. Today when we are on the road, I hear her say "I love you" and as soon as the you was out of her mouth, I heard an unmistakable click. The click of her unbuckling her car seat! I start yelling, trying to find a place to pull over and put her back in, and she's all "It's okay, Mommy, I love you! K? K? ok!" My jaw was clenched, one hand on the steering wheel, the other trying to keep her in her car seat, and trying to keep any expletives from coming out of my mouth. This wasn't the first time she's tried to get out of her car seat while I was driving, but it was the first time she's managed to unbuckle it, and I was on a highway!
We were on her way home, she needed her nap, even though she kept telling me otherwise. So I put her down for her nap, we hug, say our I love yous and it's light out. Only it's not. I hear another I love you, followed by a thud- indicating she had climbed out of her bed. I finally got her to sleep, but it wasn't easy. And I've been in a bad mood since then. Does anyone else deal with this kinda thing?
Shopping! That's today's topic over at Kelly's Korner Blog. There aren't that many things in this world in which I would call myself an expert, but online shopping is one of them. The funny thing is that I don't even like "shopping," I just like buying, haha! So years ago, when the Internet was still fairly young, I set about learning how to shop on the computer rather than in stores. When I was pregnant with Spencer, I spent too many hours, an embarrassingly large number of hours, searching for the perfect products and creating extensive lists.
I've never liked having the same "stuff" as everyone else. I wanted to fit in, but still stand out. When I had Spencer, I wanted her to have things that were just hers. I mean, I buy all of her pjs at babies 'r' us and a lot of her play clothes come from places like Target and Old Navy, etc. But for her going out on the town outfits, I try to find things that aren't on every single other toddler in the universe. At some of the more expensive places, I wait til a big sale or a good discount coupon becomes available, and then I'll buy things a size too big so she'll be able to fit into it longer. And the best thing about those clothes are that they last SO much longer- they don't fall apart and pill after three washes. If I could impart one thing about shopping for a toddler on a budget but still with some pizazz, it would be to splurge on the coat. A coat is the one thing they wear over and over again, so you want it to be a quality piece, but also unique/classic/fun. You also want it to last more than one season, so make sure buy it large enough!
So I am going to divide my knowledge about the places to shop into categories, just to make it a little easier. I hope you find some new sites and stores that you like.
I root for the underdog. It's ingrained in me, I just can't help it. The only exceptions to this rule are when either UNC or the Vikings are playing. But rooting for the Underdog is a tricky, tricky business. For example, after the Vikings beat Dallas last week, I felt so bad for them- they had become the new underdog. I got over it pretty quickly, but still...
I can't believe I'm about to blog about Conan and Leno and the Tonight Show fiasco, but I am. For the sake of pop culture posterity. Okay. So way back, five years ago, when NBC announced they were having Conan replace Leno in 2009 and Leno went on the record saying he didn't want to retire, I immediately was on Team Leno. Which is odd, because I am a loyal Letterman fan.
And then I watched Leno's last Tonight Show, and as his eyed filled with tears, so did mine. I thought it served Conan right that NBC gave Leno his new prime time gig. Team Leno all the way.
I still didn't watch either show, I'm a Letterman Girl, but I'd tune in occasionally when nothing else was on. Then came the current fuster cluck that became then end of The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien. I don't know what I was hoping for in terms of a resolution, because really, there wasn't any outcome that I would have liked. But I never wanted NBC to fire Conan and replace him with Leno. They didn't even give him a year. It took Leno three years as the host to finally beat Letterman in the ratings. NBC didn't go Ooops, we made a mistake when we chose Leno over Letterman to replace Johnny Carson- let's get rid of him and hire David. I know television is a money making industry, but you have to give these things a chance.
So today when I read that Conan was officially out, I was really sad for him. Then when I read that he demanded part of his contract include $13 million for his production staff and crew, I was officially on Team Coco. He's the new Underdog. But here's the thing; I feel guilty for being on his side because I was Team Leno for so long. And it's not really Leno's fault, I mean it kinda is, but it's mostly NBC's fault for creating this whole stupid fiasco in the first place. They should've never ousted Leno in the first place, and once they did, they should have let him go to a competing network instead of holding him to his original contract which didn't expire for another year. And poor Conan. He picked up his entire life, uprooted his family, and his crew's family for his dream job, the job of his lifetime- all to be fired within 7 months. It's just wrong.
Rooting for the Underdog is not always easy, but someone has to do it.
How did it get to be Wednesday already? We've been super busy, but still... Wednesday?
Well, this weekend my parents were out of town, so we stayed over there dog sitting for the four puppies. Although they aren't really puppies. One two and half year old plus plus four dogs (one of which is our Vivi- the 95lb Great Dane) equals one really tired Mommy. But it was fun; I love being with all my dogs and so does Spencer. She really loves little Gus, he's not too fond of her, but he did like to sleep by her feet at night- so she went to sleep in 7th Heaven!
My parentals and brother didn't get back until Monday evening and then yesterday we went over to Spencer's PGP's house for the day/night. I had to take an Anatomy quiz, (I'm now taking Anatomy 2) so they occupied her while I locked myself in their upstairs office studying, etc. And this morning I took my quiz (I aced it) and then had to go to the school bookstore for a new lab manual. For some unknown reason they switched lab manuals, but not textbooks, and I had to go buy a new one. Are you ready for this? The new manual was $120! It wasn't even a hard back book. CRAZY!
So after many nights away, we're now back home and Spencer is napping. She doesn't nap well away from home, or sleep well for that matter, so she was in serious need of a nice long snooze. For the first couple of days she was okay, but for the last two she's woken up around 6am, hasn't taken a nap, and wouldn't fall asleep until almost 10pm. Needless to say, or write, we're both pretty exhausted.
Spencer's PGP (her PGrandaPa) gave me the funniest nugget of wisdom today and I just had to share it with ya'll. A little back story, he is a republican and Carol (Spencer's MiMi) is NOT. Okay, so this morning I came downstairs for breakfast and he was watching Fox News. I gave him a half smile along with a raised eyebrow and slight eye roll and he laughed. Then he said "Katie, when you get married you need to marry a democrat- that way you can both watch the same TV." Hahaha! Whenever it's time to watch the news, one of them goes upstairs to watch their channel while the other stays downstairs to watch their preferred channel. But typically, I don't like my news with any kind of partisan slant, so hopefully I'll find someone like that. Anyway, I just thought that was so funny, so I had to blog it.
My friend who died ended his own life. I found out today.
From the outside looking in, it appeared as though the world was his oyster. He had a beautiful, intelligent wife, a house, and a loving family. For what more could you ask? I was looking at some of his pictures the other day, before any of this happened, and I thought to myself that he looked so happy, so loved. He was one of the last people I would ever think could make such a decision; to choose death over life.
As sad as I am for him, all I can think about is his wife. They were supposed to have a lifetime together- to grow old with each other. And now she's alone; left by herself to pick up the pieces and somehow move forward. It makes me queasy to think about the helplessness she must feel. What must she have gone through when she went home and found him?
I've experienced depression before. Shortly after my Mema died my dad was diagnosed with Small B-Cell Lymphoma, specifically Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma. Within four months my world was turned upside down and I was devastated. Months later I no longer recognized myself and my parents were so worried about me. I got help, went to a psychiatrist and was put on an anti-depressant. After awhile things began to look brighter and I was slowly weaned off of them under my doctor's supervision. It was a painful time in my life, but I never thought about ending it. That's why I know he must have been in such tremendous despair.
It's taken me five minutes to write the word. Suicide. It takes my breath away like a punch to the stomach. I don't know if he reached our to anyone or if he kept it all bottled inside. What if someone I'm close to is experiencing the same thoughts and feelings? How can I help? I hope I'm the kind of person that someone could turn to, but maybe I'm not. I don't know, what are the right words to say?
This week on Show Us How You Live we're writing about diet and exercise tips. I am SO excited to read about everyone's ideas, I don't have too many myself. But I did get these shoes for Christmas, the Sketcher Shape Ups, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how they work.
They were a size too small, so they had to be sent back, but they should be arriving any day. I will most definitely report on how well they work. Here's what the website says about them:
They are designed to help you tone your muscles – from your back and abdomen to your buttocks and calves. Shape-ups will help you lose weight and improve your circulation, creating a healthier you!
I've been reading some things about them, and it sounds as if it's better to start of wearing them around the house, before you try and exercise in them. One of the things I'm really excited about is that they have really great arch support, which is something I need since I have ridiculously high arches. So we will see! But until then, it's just me and Wii Fit, with the occasional Shred here and there. Can't wait to read about some new things to try!
I just found out that a friend of mine from high school passed away last night. We weren't the best of friends, probably more of acquaintances in actuality. But he's dead now. Alive yesterday, dead today. I just can't fathom that. He was such a nice guy, incredibly smart, and was only 27. I can't even imagine the pain his wife his going through right now. I'm even more reminded how fleeting this life is; how we have no idea when our last day is in fact our last day. It sends shivers down my spine to think of it. But right now I'm just thinking about the break dancing guy from high school- the one who always had a smile and a hug for everyone.
Today's Show Us How You Live topic over at Kelly's Korner is about our New Year's resolutions. Ever since Wednesday when I found my old high school resolutions, I've been thinking about what I wanted/needed to change and improve in myself. One thing I think about resolutions is that they have to be realistic or else they're easily discarded by the third week in January and never thought about again until the next year. But they should also be a little challenging, you should have to work for it a little. One of my favorite quotes is:
The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
Every time I hear or read those words I'm motivated to become the best version of me. I think about what I want in the future and what it will take to get me there. Yes, there are a lot of things that I'd like to become that are completely unrealistic or aren't worth the sacrifice in the long run. But knowing that it's possible, and not just some pie in the sky dream, to become someone greater than I am today makes me ready and willing to stick to my New Year's Resolutions!
I Resolve to:
1. Strike a Balance. I'm more of an all-or-nothing kinda girl and I've found it difficult to correctly balance my school work and "mother work." I know this was my first year back to school since law school, since becoming a mother, and I knew there would be an adjustment period. But it's taken a lot more getting used to than I anticipated and I either feel like I'm being a bad mom or being a bad student. I need to work on this; I want to be a good student and a good mom every day- not a good student one day and bad the next.
2. Maintain my GPA. I'm hoping that by finding a better way to balance everything in my life, keeping my 4.0 will be easier than getting it. So much of the first 24 years of my life were centered around making good grades, excelling in school, and being "smart." I worked for it, but it also came to me easily. I didn't feel that way this year, and even though I ended up with all A's, it wasn't the easiest of roads to get there.
3. Confidently remember that everything I do is for Spencer. It sometimes gets me in a funk when I think about how people see me now, as if I'm doing nothing with my life because I've chosen to stay home with Spencer for these first few years. I know differently; this is the most difficult and most rewarding job I'll ever have. Spencer is my most proud accomplishment and being her mother is my greatest privilege. But I need to remind myself of this more and spend less time thinking about anyone else. When I'm up late studying for a test and up early in the morning to give her breakfast, I need to remember that I'm doing it for her instead of thinking about how tired I am.
4. Be Receptive. I often close my mind to different ways of thinking and fail to really listen to others' perspectives. I'm polite, but it's more like I'm just hearing the words instead of listening to the idea. This needs to change. Even if I don't agree with an opinion, that's no reason to ignore it; at the very least I should be trying to understand it.
5. Take More Pictures. You might think that 10,000 pictures is a lot to take in one year, but I want to take more!
And those are my big resolutions! There are a few more that didn't make it on the list because they're "life" resolutions, things that will never leave the list -exercising more, being more organized, and keeping my car clean.
They say it's going to snow here in Richmond tonight.
The last time it snowed (3 weeks ago), Spencer and I were house bound for three days! THREE DAYS!
Those were not the best 72 hours of our lives.
And while it was really pretty...
And made my Christmas lights look all dreamy and Winter Wonder Landy ...
We had almost a foot of snow and our neighborhood roads weren't cleared for four days. These three pictures taken on days one, two, and three of of our confinement. And since this is Virginia, and it rarely snows like this, I was not the owner of an ice scraper for my car. See all that snow? I cleared it with a CD cover! It toom me a long white and I thought my fingers were going to fall off. I did go out and buy after that experience, so at least I'm prepared for that! If Mother Nature is listening to me, I would like it snow tonight and melt tomorrow- please don't stick around for more than 24 hours.